The holiday season is here. This is when the exploratory bug bites us and we want to travel if not keep up with the Joneses. However, we don’t have to splurge. Kenya is blessed with beauty and natural wonder that choosing a place to travel is not daunting but confusing. We try to figure out where to go and what to do as we explore the country. Where do you start? When you live in Nairobi, there is a list of options to choose from. When you live in Nairobi but want to explore outside the city in just one day, we also have a varied number of options which can be explored in just one day.
Let us explore.
Naivasha is a common place for most Nairobians, but when you know where to go you will definitely have more fun. Only 76km from Nairobi you will be there in less than 3 hours depending on the mode of transport by road.
First stop should be Hell’s Gate National Park. Hell’s Gate is filled with plenty of activities from cycling to hiking through the gorges to the Devil’s bedroom, horse riding and rock climbing at Fischer’s Towers. The entrance fee is KES 300 for adults and KES 215for children. Another first stop is Mount Longonot National Park. Be prepared to walk, explore and share how mountain climbing is fun, adventurous and tiring at the same time. Entrance fee is KES 300 for adults and KES 215 for children.
After the adventurous activities, visit the Olkaria Geothermal Spa where you can swim and relax at the naturally heated swimming pool. The entrance fees are KES 400 for adults and KES 100 for children. You can also have a boat ride at Lake Naivasha to cool off and enjoy the scenery of birds, hippos and other wildlife.
Nakuru is 139 km from Nairobi. The first stop should be Menengai Crater which is great for hiking and spiking up your adrenaline. Afterwards, spend some time at Lake Nakuru National park and enjoy viewing our natural heritage from rhinos, to flamingoes (depending on the time of year), lions, giraffes, and buffalo among other wildlife. Entry fee is KES 860 for adults and 215 for children.
This is another beautiful place which is only 120 km from Nairobi. Lake Elementaita is a calm and alkaline lake which is filled with plenty of birdlife and considered a heritage site. While you are there, explore the LemonValley Farm Estate which is a wonderful place to take a bite and enjoy the view. Sleeping warrior and Ugali hills peaks are great sites to enjoy hiking and trekking.
One main activity you can undertake north of Nairobi is visiting Mount Kenya National Park and Reserve through the Nyeri-Nanyuki road near Naro Moru. Entrance fee is KES 300 for adults and KES 215 for children. You will get to enjoy a clean fresh breathe of air as you ponder upon summiting Mount Kenya which is in your adventurous bucket list. There are plenty of places to eat around Nyeri town such as the popular White Rhino Hotel. Further to this, you can choose to explore Wajee Nature Park and Aberdare National Park which can be accessed 15km from Nyeri town (entry fee is KES 300 for adults and KES 215 for children). You can have your lunch or relax at the Tafaria Castle, Giraffe Ark or Treetops.
These two areas are not well explored considering the abundance wild places. Sites to explore the beauty of nature and Kenya’s abundance in wildlife include Aberdare National Park, Thompsons Falls, summit either of the Aberdare Ranges (Kipipiri, Satima, Kinangop and Elephant Hill) and view Lake Ol Bolossat, the only lake in central Kenya.
Laikipia is filled with a number of choices; Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy and Animal Orphanage where you can see the rare Mountain Bongo, OlPejeta Conservancy, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and the Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve. When you leave Nairobi pretty early, you can be able to visit two of the places of choice and still enjoy lunch in Nanyuki town.
A good place to start when you are not looking to go very far is Ngong Hills. Summiting the hills is definitely the needed break we need once in a while. You only need to dress comfortably (no jeans), carry lots of water and enjoy the constant climbs and descends. Your Journey can begin at Ngong Town and end at Kona Baridi inKiserian.
First stop should be Olorgesailie Pre – Historic Site which is located along Magadi road, an hour’s drive and 70kms away from Nairobi, where you can explore where mankind evolved from before heading to Lake Magadi. This is more of a perfect road trip rather than an onsite expedition.
Not far from Nairobi (only 65 km), you can enjoy mountain climbing at Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park, popularly known as Kilimambogo. Entrance fee is KES 300 for adults and KES 215 for children. Wildlife to be spotted include buffaloes, colobus monkeys, baboons and impalas. Another spectacle is Fourteen Falls, although heavily polluted.
For a very adventurous, adrenaline rushing day trip, a visit to Rapids Camps Sagana is a must. Activities include white water rafting, zip lining, rapids river trekking, bungee jumping bird watching and rock climbing among other numerous activities.
In the case you are looking for a really short trip outside Nairobi here are some options.
Gatamaiyu forest and Kereita Forest are two places which area must visit while in Limuru in Kiambu County. Both forests are part of the Aberdare forests. Gatamaiyu forest is a great place for birdwatching and trekking and you will get to view a waterfall. At The Forest, which is in Kereita, you can enjoy ziplining and guided walks.
Another amazing place to visit is Paradise Lost which is located 14 km from Nairobi town. Attractions include Mau Mau caves, waterfall and birdwatching.
Acknowledgements – David Mukabane